This year, from the 2nd to the 5th October 2014, a beautiful and peaceful village in Cumbria opened its doors to the world, for the first Caldbeck Festival. Organised by Ian P Loftus, the festival had so much on that I was a little disappointed I had to work and only got there in time for some live music on the Friday night.

After a two and a bit hour drive up the M6 listening to Bladerunner (or rather, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – see this post for more information on the difference), I parked outside Oddfellows Arms, dumped my bags in my room there, and headed to the bar for some fruit ciders and the live music. Prior to that there had been Poetry readings from Sue Allen, screenwriting and poetry workshops, choir singing and workshop, a poetry competition for a local school, and plenty more.



Having supped my way through more cider than I should, I retired to bed in the knowledge that I was up far too late (cheers Ian! 🙂 and that I was up in six and a bit hours to go for a run on the moors. As it happens, a combination of too much cider, steep hills, freezing wind and rain made me cut the 10k route I’d planned down to 3.8k, so I could get back in the warm for a bacon, sausage and egg banjo with a pot of coffee.

Breakfast out the way, it was time for some work. While the face-painting and bookshop were set up and opened, I sat down and started planning out a 50k word story I’m re-writing into a full length novel. It’ll be easily done, but I want it to be as good a possible, and thus, it’s getting the same treatment as stories and novels I plan from scratch. Timeline, book of info, all scraps of paper glued into the A4 book, etc. I’ll do a post about my planning at a later point. I spend a couple of hours planning and getting all the chapters separated and set up on my laptop/tablet thing.

The first planned event I went to was a talk from the son of the author of Jarl Boethar, the Earl of Buttermere, discussing the historic Jarl and his resistance against the Norman invaders at the time. It was an interesting listen, and a good example of how historic information can be used as a base for a novel.

As a couple of workshops started shortly after that, I took off to my room, continuing planning and a little writing, before waking up hours later to the sound of the film ‘Chinatown’ being played in the function room below. I was a little gutted, because I’d intended to watch it.

After scoff I watched a poetry reading, followed by some very funny monologues from Jacci Garside. With the monologues over, the local performing group the Caldbeck Players did 1300 years of Caldbeck history in 45 minutes. While this was going on, I was chatting to the Canadian performer who had played the night before, and was back again with his own impressive takes on well known songs. With the play over to the applause of the crowd, the music started and the drinking began.

Sunday morning arrived, along with coffee and a veggie full English, and then more work on my novel. At 0930 I went to the memoir writing workshop, given by Ian himself. It was absolutely superb. Having started writing about my call up and subsequent stint in Iraq, I lost interest in the project because I wasn’t too sure how to go about it. When the super-hot days all blend into one another, there’s little to break it up, but, the workshop made me think about it in a different way. Writing lists of important things and events, thankfully not read out because some of them were a bit ‘oof’, it gave me stuff to work on, and more ideas of how to go about it in the future.

More workshops were set up for after that, but sadly, I had to flee home and get to the shops back home before they closed. It was a superb weekend with so much on it was unreal, so next year, I’ll be there for the full hit. Cheers to Ian for his hospitality, and to the folk who gave their time to make it possible. Superb.

Wall of text Crits for 48.763 damage.